CLOTHING (also known as CLOTHES and ATTIRE) is fiber and textile material worn on the body. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of nearly all human societies . The amount and type of clothing worn depends on body type, social, and geographic considerations. Some clothing can be gender-specific.
Physically, clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection
from the elements , and can enhance safety during hazardous activities
such as hiking and cooking. It protects the wearer from rough
surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and
prickles by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment.
Clothes can insulate against cold or hot conditions. Further, they can
provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials
away from the body.
* 1 Origin of clothing * 2 Functions * 3 Scholarship
* 4 Cultural aspects
* 5 Origin and history
* 5.1 First recorded use * 5.2 Making clothing
* 6 Contemporary clothing
* 7 Political issues
* 7.1 Working conditions in the garments industry * 7.2 Fur
* 8 Life cycle
* 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
ORIGIN OF CLOTHING
There is no easy way to determine when clothing was first developed, but some information has been inferred by studying lice. The body louse specifically lives in clothing, and diverged from head lice about 170,000 years ago, suggesting that clothing existed at that time. Another theory is that modern humans are the only survivors of several species of primates who may have worn clothes and that clothing may have been used as long ago as 650 millennia . Other louse-based estimates put the introduction of clothing at around 42,000–72,000 B.P .
A baby wearing many items of winter clothing: headband , cap , fur-lined coat , shawl and sweater
The most obvious function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer, by protecting the wearer from the elements. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn or wind damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coats , hats , gloves , and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm home, particularly if one is residing or sleeping there. Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects, so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing are generally worn in warmer seasons and regions than in colder ones.
Humans have shown extreme invention in devising clothing solutions to environmental hazards. Examples include: space suits , air conditioned clothing , armor , diving suits , swimsuits , bee-keeper gear , motorcycle leathers , high-visibility clothing , and other pieces of protective clothing . Meanwhile, the distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut—since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for function often consider fashion in their design. Wearing clothes also has social implications. They cover parts of the body that social norms require to be covered, act as a form of adornment, and serve other social purposes.
Although dissertations on clothing and its function appear from the
19th century as colonising countries dealt with new environments,
concerted scientific research into psycho-social, physiological and
other functions of clothing (e.g. protective, cartage) occurred in the
first half of the 20th century, with publications such as J. C.
Flügel 's Psychology of Clothes in 1930, and Newburgh's seminal
Physiology of Heat Regulation and The Science of
Former 3rd Duke of Fife wearing a traditional
Scottish kilt .
(1984) Former US Secretary of State
In most cultures, gender differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate. The differences are in styles, colors and fabrics.
In Western societies, skirts , dresses and high-heeled shoes are
usually seen as women's clothing, while neckties are usually seen as
In some cultures, sumptuary laws regulate what men and women are
required to wear.
Men may sometimes choose to wear men\'s skirts such as togas or kilts , especially on ceremonial occasions. Such garments were (in previous times) often worn as normal daily clothing by men.
A Barong Tagalog made for a wedding ceremony. Alim Khan 's bemedaled robe sends a social message about his wealth, status, and power
In some societies, clothing may be used to indicate rank or status .
In ancient Rome , for example, only senators could wear garments dyed
Tyrian purple . In traditional Hawaiian society, only
high-ranking chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa, or carved
whale teeth. In
Religious clothing might be considered a special case of occupational clothing. Sometimes it is worn only during the performance of religious ceremonies. However, it may also be worn everyday as a marker for special religious status.
For example, Jains and
The cleanliness of religious dresses in Eastern religions like
Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism,
The Quran says about husbands and wives, regarding clothing: "...They are clothing/covering (Libaas) for you; and you for them" (chapter 2:187).
Jewish ritual also requires rending of one's upper garment as a sign
of mourning. This practice is found in the
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
FIRST RECORDED USE
According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest
clothing likely consisted of fur , leather , leaves, or grass that
were draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such
clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate
quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts.
Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and
ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near
Scientists are still debating when people started wearing clothes.
Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at
the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
See also: Garment industry , knitting , and weaving
Some human cultures, such as the various people of the Arctic Circle , traditionally make their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins. Other cultures supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibers including wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp, and ramie.
Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process involving fiber making, spinning, and weaving. The textile industry was the first to be mechanized – with the powered loom – during the Industrial Revolution .
Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth. One approach simply involves draping the cloth. Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit – for example, the dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent , the Scottish kilt or the Javanese sarong . The clothes may simply be tied up, as is the case of the first two garments; or pins or belts hold the garments in place, as in the case of the latter two. The precious cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at different sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves measuring, cutting, and sewing the cloth by
hand or with a sewing machine .
Modern European fashion treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; home sewers may turn them into quilts .
In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing
clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of
which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, photos ,
paintings , mosaics , etc., as well as from written descriptions.
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WESTERN DRESS CODE
Main article: Western dress code
The Western dress code has changed over the past 500+ years. The mechanization of the textile industry made many varieties of cloth widely available at affordable prices. Styles have changed, and the availability of synthetic fabrics has changed the definition of "stylish". In the latter half of the 20th century, blue jeans became very popular, and are now worn to events that normally demand formal attire. Activewear has also become a large and growing market.
The licensing of designer names was pioneered by designers like Pierre Cardin in the 1960s and has been a common practice within the fashion industry from about the 1970s. Among the more popular include Marc Jacobs and Gucci , named for Marc Jacobs and Guccio Gucci respectively.
SPREAD OF WESTERN STYLES
By the early years of the 21st century, western clothing styles had, to some extent, become international styles. This process began hundreds of years earlier, during the periods of European colonialism . The process of cultural dissemination has perpetuated over the centuries as Western media corporations have penetrated markets throughout the world, spreading Western culture and styles. Fast fashion clothing has also become a global phenomenon. These garments are less expensive, mass-produced Western clothing. Donated used clothing from Western countries are also delivered to people in poor countries by charity organizations.
ETHNIC AND CULTURAL HERITAGE
People may wear ethnic or national dress on special occasions or in certain roles or occupations. For example, most Korean men and women have adopted Western-style dress for daily wear, but still wear traditional hanboks on special occasions, like weddings and cultural holidays. Items of Western dress may also appear worn or accessorized in distinctive, non-Western ways. A Tongan man may combine a used T-shirt with a Tongan wrapped skirt, or tupenu .
SPORT AND ACTIVITY
Most sports and physical activities are practiced wearing special clothing, for practical, comfort or safety reasons. Common sportswear garments include shorts , T-shirts , tennis shirts , leotards , tracksuits , and trainers . Specialized garments include wet suits (for swimming , diving or surfing ), salopettes (for skiing ) and leotards (for gymnastics ). Also, spandex materials are often used as base layers to soak up sweat. Spandex is also preferable for active sports that require form fitting garments, such as volleyball, wrestling, track white-space:nowrap;"> in fashion, varying by geography, exposure to modern media, economic conditions, and ranging from expensive haute couture to traditional garb, to thrift store grunge .
Main article: Fashion forecasting
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The world of clothing is always changing, as new cultural influences meet technological innovations. Researchers in scientific labs have been developing prototypes for fabrics that can serve functional purposes well beyond their traditional roles, for example, clothes that can automatically adjust their temperature, repel bullets, project images, and generate electricity. Some practical advances already available to consumers are bullet-resistant garments made with kevlar and stain-resistant fabrics that are coated with chemical mixtures that reduce the absorption of liquids. New blends of Spandex cotton blends allow for form fitting and stretching of closer fitting mass produced patterns. New mesh materials allow for better breathe-ability in shoes. New insulation fibers and batting make lighter rainments that keep you warm when wet and recent advances in coatings for fabrics or down also repel water.
WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE GARMENTS INDUSTRY
Further information: Garment industry
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Though mechanization transformed most aspects of human industry by the mid-20th century, garment workers have continued to labor under challenging conditions that demand repetitive manual labor. Mass-produced clothing is often made in what are considered by some to be sweatshops , typified by long work hours, lack of benefits, and lack of worker representation. While most examples of such conditions are found in developing countries , clothes made in industrialized nations may also be manufactured similarly.
Coalitions of NGOs , designers (including Katharine Hamnett, American Apparel , Veja , Quiksilver , eVocal, and Edun) and campaign groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights as well as textile and clothing trade unions have sought to improve these conditions as much as possible by sponsoring awareness-raising events, which draw the attention of both the media and the general public to the workers.
Outsourcing production to low wage countries like
Despite the strong reactions that "sweatshops" evoked among critics of globalization , the production of textiles has functioned as a consistent industry for developing nations providing work and wages, whether construed as exploitative or not, to many thousands of people.
Main article: Fur clothing
The use of animal fur in clothing dates to prehistoric times. It is currently associated in developed countries with expensive, designer clothing, although fur is still used by indigenous people in arctic zones and higher elevations for its warmth and protection. Once uncontroversial, it has recently been the focus of campaigns on the grounds that campaigners consider it cruel and unnecessary. PETA , along with other animal rights and animal liberation groups have called attention to fur farming and other practices they consider cruel.
In some cases, people wear an item of clothing until it falls apart. Cleaning leather presents difficulties, and bark cloth (tapa) cannot be washed without dissolving it. Owners may patch tears and rips, and brush off surface dirt, but old leather and bark clothing always look old.
But most clothing consists of cloth, and most cloth can be laundered and mended (patching, darning , but compare felt ).
LAUNDRY, IRONING, STORAGE
Humans have developed many specialized methods for laundering, ranging from early methods of pounding clothes against rocks in running streams, to the latest in electronic washing machines and dry cleaning (dissolving dirt in solvents other than water). Hot water washing (boiling), chemical cleaning and ironing are all traditional methods of sterilizing fabrics for hygiene purposes.
Many kinds of clothing are designed to be ironed before they are worn to remove wrinkles. Most modern formal and semi-formal clothing is in this category (for example, dress shirts and suits ). Ironed clothes are believed to look clean, fresh, and neat. Much contemporary casual clothing is made of knit materials that do not readily wrinkle, and do not require ironing. Some clothing is permanent press , having been treated with a coating (such as polytetrafluoroethylene ) that suppresses wrinkles and creates a smooth appearance without ironing.
Once clothes have been laundered and possibly ironed, they are usually hung on clothes hangers or folded, to keep them fresh until they are worn. Clothes are folded to allow them to be stored compactly, to prevent creasing, to preserve creases or to present them in a more pleasing manner, for instance when they are put on sale in stores.
Main article: Permanent press
A resin used for making non-wrinkle shirts releases formaldehyde , which could cause contact dermatitis for some people; no disclosure requirements exist, and in 2008 the U.S. Government Accountability Office tested formaldehyde in clothing and found that generally the highest levels were in non-wrinkle shirts and pants. In 1999, a study of the effect of washing on the formaldehyde levels found that after 6 months after washing, 7 of 27 shirts had levels in excess of 75 ppm, which is a safe limit for direct skin exposure.
In past times, mending was an art. A meticulous tailor or seamstress could mend rips with thread raveled from hems and seam edges so skillfully that the tear was practically invisible. When the raw material – cloth – was worth more than labor, it made sense to expend labor in saving it. Today clothing is considered a consumable item. Mass-manufactured clothing is less expensive than the labor required to repair it. Many people buy a new piece of clothing rather than spend time mending. The thrifty still replace zippers and buttons and sew up ripped hems.
Used, unwearable clothing can be repurposed for quilts , rags, rugs , bandages , and many other household uses. It can also be recycled into paper . In Western societies, used clothing is often thrown out or donated to charity (such as through a clothing bin ). It is also sold to consignment shops , dress agencies, flea markets , and in online auctions . Used clothing is also often collected on an industrial scale to be sorted and shipped for re-use in poorer countries.
There are many concerns about the life cycle of synthetics, which come primarily from petrochemicals. Unlike natural fibers, their source is not renewable and they are not biodegradable.
* Fashion portal
* Finnane, Antonia (2008), Changing Clothes in China: Fashion,
History, Nation, New York:
Columbia University Press , ISBN
978-0-231-14350-9 , retrieved 8 September 2010 ebook ISBN
* Forsberg, Krister; Mansdorf, S.Z (2007), Quick Selection Guide to